Missouri’s voter-approved photo ID voting law went into effect June 1, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft made several stops on Thursday, Aug. 3, to explain what it means for voters across the state.

Missouri’s voter-approved photo ID voting law went into effect June 1, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft made several stops on Thursday, Aug. 3, to explain what it means for voters across the state.

During his first stop in Hannibal, Ashcroft had voter registration forms on hand for anyone who changed their address or hadn’t yet registered to vote. Ashcroft said the new law will make the process faster for poll workers because they can scan a government-issued ID and instantly verify that a voter is in the right location and get them ready more quickly than through a paper list of names.

Ashcroft said he will send a letter offering help to Missouri residents who don’t have one of the government-issued IDs the law requires. He also pointed out an important new distinction between the old law and the new one — voters who couldn’t prove their identity were turned away, and the new law can use a signature without any other documentation — allowing more people to vote.

Ashcroft said it took Missouri 10 years to complete the law, but they learned from missteps other states took with similar laws.

He said that opposition to the law is often tied to the nation’s current divided partisan environment and partisan information sources. But he stressed his duties are not partisan in nature, and every single election is important — from the local to the federal level, Ashcroft encouraged everyone to vote or to register.

“The final part of accountability is we the people voting and making those decisions,” Ashcroft said.

For more information about the new law or how to obtain a government-issued ID, visit www.ShowIt2Vote.com .

Here are three things you should now about Missouri’s new photo ID voter law:

1. Every registered voter will be able to vote — a new provisional ballot uses the voter’s signature for verification. If the signature matches what’s on file in Missouri’s voter registry, or the voter returns to the polling place with a photo ID, their vote counts. 

2. The new law says that voters need to show a government-issued photo ID: a driver’s license, nondriver license, passport or military ID. If a voter doesn’t have one of these IDs, the Secretary of State’s office will assist people in getting one at no cost. People can get help obtaining an ID calling the ShowIt2Vote Hotline toll-free at 866-868-3245 or by emailing ShowIt2Vote@sos.mo.gov . People who need assistance obtaining birth certificates, marriage certificates or other documents free of charge for the ID can call 573-751-6387.

3. Voters can also sign a statement at the polling place and show one of the following documents to vote: voter registration card, ID from a Missouri university, college, vocational or technical school, utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows a name and address.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com